Not a library, as the name implies, but a tea shop, so cozy and inviting we start to smile as soon as we walk in the door, where we’re greeted by a sign inviting clients to touch and to smell. The walls are covered with wooden shelves stocking more than a hundred kinds of tea, as well as coffee, chocolate and spices.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 124 tel. 06 45433114
It’s easy to miss this little bakery, sandwiched between two restaurants, but its Austrian pastries are legendary. Besides the Sacher torte, there are hot pretzels, oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies and brownies for homesick Americans.
This is the only place in Rome to find real Roman Jewish baked goods. Get there early or order in advance if you want a challah (twisted bread) for your Friday Sabbath dinner. In additional to the traditional bread, they make an amazing Roman sweet challah with candied fruits. Also not to be missed, the ricotta or almond tortes, the honey biscotti. Sometimes called the “burnt bakery” for the sweet pizza ebraica that emerges from the oven, but it’s just as it should be with crisped raisins, nuts and fruits. The bakery is housed in the heart of Rome's former ghetto on the ground floor of a palazzo built by a wealthy merchant. If you look above the door, you can still the Latin inscription in which Manili proudly proclaims that “in the moment in which the city of Rome is being reborn, Lorenzo Manili, with love for his native land … in the year 1468 on July 22 at the age of 44 years three months and two days inscribed this." Via del Portico d’Ottavio, 1 tel. 06.687 8637
Closed Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday
Offering specialities from the Campania region. Fresh bufala mozzarella from Caserta, pecornio cheese, salamis, prosciutto, sausages, huge jars of vegetables in oil, honeyed fruits, herbs and spices, pastas, olive oils....
Via dell'Oca 34 tel 06 3265 1201
Via del Portico d’Ottavia, 20b tel 06 689 2196
Il Forno al Campo dei Fiori
In adjacent shops at one end of the piazza, the Forno sells an aromatic selection of breads (including Sicilian bread with sesame seeds, and focaccia), rolls, pizzas, tarts and cookies. They’ll make a delicious snack if you’re feeling peckish or need to have lunch on the run.
Campo dei Fiori, 22 and Vicolo del Gallo, 14
It seems almost incongruous that the thin and beautiful owner, Josephine Scorer, a former English fashion model, should know how to bake such gorgeous and sinful cakes. She offers a range of seasonal specialties impossible to find elsewhere in Rome, such as American pecan and pumpkin pies, English apple crumble, sticky buns and scones. But her masterpieces are the artfully decorated cakes she creates for weddings and other special occasions.
Piazza del Paradiso, 56/57 tel 06 687 1065
Noio Juice Bar
Unlike American smoothies, these are made without ice, using whole, fresh fruits. The bar also offers nuts and dried fruits from Tuscany, as well as a limited menu of sops, salads and couscous.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 108 (between Largo Argentina and Campo de' Fiori)
tel 06 688 07956
Tè e Teiere
Tea pots, tea towels, tea cups, tea trays, tea strainers, even tea leaves— it’s all here. Many of the pots are Japanese or Chinese in style, but you’ll also find modern, quirky and vintage-look pots and cups. Behind the counter, stacks of drawers hold a wide variety of teas. You’ll be offered a taste of the featured blends of the day. And you can choose to take home your selection in a colorful tin.
Via del Pellegrino, 85 tel. 06 6868824
The home of Rome's pizza king, the influential baker Gabriele Bonci, Tricolore offers gourmet take-away or eat-on-the-spot burgers and sandwiches, and many would say the best pizza in town. In the emporio, you'll find the best kitchen utensils and gadgets, and top appliances by Kitchen Aid,
Cuisinart and other brands, as well as cooking books and magazines. The ambitious can take cooking classes from Bonci himself. And if you're having a party, they'll deliver!
Via Urbana 126 tel
06 8897 6898 www.tricoloremonti.it
Bonci pizza can almost be bought by the slice at Pizzarium, via della Meloria 43, in the Prati district near the Ciprio Metro stop.
This newly-opened little shop assaults the eye with a tantalizing display of Sicilian pastries, marzipan goodies, pizza, bread and panini. Also serving coffee and quick lunch items. Look for delicious specialties like cannolo siciliano, sfogliatine, buccellato, cassattine, cassata tradizionale, almond biscuits, brioches, roast chickens. If you're having party, they'll cater all the dishes from eggplant parimgiano to fruit tart and deliver to your home.
Via Cardinale Marmaggi, 12 (off Viale Trastevere) tel 981 88627
Offering a wide variety of products from Compagnia, Calabria and Sardinia, including bufala mozzarella and ricotta, prosciutto, salamis, smoked fish, honey, and much more, plus a selection of organic wines and artisinal beers.
Via Natale del Grande 22 tel 06 583 35630
The neighborhood health food shop, with a small but adequate selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, whole grain cereals and pastas, soy products, dried fruits and nuts, baked goods, as well as beauty products and books.
Via San Francesco a Ripa 105 tel. 06.581 2621
Also at: Viale Gorizia, 51 (Trieste)
Via Luca della Robbia, 12 (Testaccio).
For those who can’t live without the porridge, teas and biscuits of England or the Karo Syrup, Bisquick and taco chips of America, this is the shop where you’ll find the cure for food homesickness. It's crowded, as well, with sacks of beans and grains, nuts, dried fruits and spices as well as a huge and ever changing selection of candies. Before you decide you can’t find it in Rome, stop in here.
Piazza San Cosimato, 66 tel. 06 581 2725 Mon-Wed., Fri-Sat. 7 am-1:30 pm, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Closed Thursday and Sunday, as well as Saturday afternoons in summer months.
Fabbrica di Cioccolato
A franchise of the Neapolitan line Dolce Idea, you’ll find a variety of chocolates in charming shapes, with fillings such as chestnut, ginger and limoncello. Your selections can be nicely boxed for gift-giving, or, pop in to pick up an etto (about one cup) bag of your favorites for immediate consumption.
Via San Francesco a Ripa, 27 tel. 06.583 34043 Closed Sunday afternoons and Monday mornings
This tiny shop, attached to the large restaurant of the same name, sells boutique label pasta, olive oil and jars of delicacies, biscuits, chocolates, coffees, teas, and wines.
Via del Moro 1 tel. 06 5833 3920 Open only in the evenings from 8:30 pm
Forno la Renella
A veritable Trastsevere institution, offering wonderful breads, pizzas, biscotti and sweets, all made on the premises. Open until 11:30 at night, one in the morning during the summer months, for late night snacks.
Via del Moro, 15 tel. 06 5817265
Testaccio’s largest enoteca, with a selection of wines from all over Italy, as well as an extraordinary international selection of beers. The shop also sells imported specialty foods, including such hard to find staples as Skippy peanut butter, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, and canned okra. The newly opened annex, La Fromagerie, offers a fine selection of cheeses and cured meats, both Italian and imported, such as Black Forest ham and Spanish salami. You’ll also find a range of teas and coffees, preserves, bottled sauces, oils and vinegars.
Piazza Testaccio, 35 tel. 06.572 50185
You’ll find all the traditional Roman baked goods here: pizza, foccaccio, rosetti frustine, as well as delicious cookies and tarts. Known for its wide selection and excellent quality.
Via Mastro Giorgio, 87 tel. 06.574 6563
Revendita di Ciccolato e Vino
This pretty little shop sells our favorite things: sweets and libations. The classical music and tranquil atmosphere offer a welcome respite from the chaos of the bustling street and the chocolates, including the famed Leonidas brand from Belgium, are irresistible.
Vicolo del Cinque, 11/a tel. 06 583 02868 Closed Monday. Open till midnight Friday and Saturday.
This tiny take-out place is jammed at lunchtime and with good reason. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better pizza al taglia (by the slice). They also make a great roast chicken on the spit, lasagne, manicotti and other baked pastas, as well as savory potato crocchette and crispy supplí (breaded and fried rice cakes).
Via San Francesco a Ripa, 137 tel. 06 589 7110
Also at Piazza dei Re di Roma, 20 (Appia)
Come in to watch the fresh pasta being expertly kneaded and rolled. It’s easy to base a meal around one of the fresh egg pastas with various condiments sold in the same shop. Try the wonderful ravioli with a variety of seasonal stuffings.
Via del Moro, 32
This historic bakery is famous for its Austrian Sacher torte and its typical Roman cakes and candies, all produced on the premises. Try the surprising hot-pepper chocolates “al diavoletti,” candied orange peel, and at Christmas, the traditional pangiallo and panpepato. If you’re lucky, Mamma Valzani herself will help with your purchases. In his film, Bianca, Nanni Morretti can be seen staring longingly into the shop’s window. We understand. The aroma of chocolate stops us dead in our tracks whenever we walk by.
Via del Moro, 37b tel. 06.580 3792 Closed Tuesday and during the month of August.
Emilio Volpetti & C.
A food lover’s paradise, this historic shop is lavishly stocked with cheeses, meats, wines, vinegars and olive oils from all over Italy. There are breads and tarts, kitchen accessories and a mouth-watering selection of prepared foods, such as rice salads, crispy cheese suplí and pizzas. Their gift boxes and baskets can be shipped anywhere in the EU. Around the corner, the Volpetti brothers have opened a lunchtime tavola calda, a gourmet buffet in a working-class setting, serving such delicacies as octopus salad, and cheese tarts as well as pizza.
Via Marmorata, 47
PANTHEON TO PARLIAMENT
An expansive farm on the hillsides of the Castelli Romani, Agribel grows organic grains, olives and tomatoes, and raises bees, producing an exceptional line of oils, honeys and sauces.
Their products, including a boutique beer, are now available at their own, newly-opened store in the heart of Rome. Worth a visit.
Via del Corso at Via delle Vite
Albero del Pane
In addition to all the usual teas and food supplements, natural cosmetics, grains and tofu, this health food store has a wonderful bakery section selling some of the most delicious natural products in town. No white sugar or flour here, but a great selection of freshly baked breads and pastries.
Via Santa Maria del Pianto, 19 (just off Via Arenula near Largo Argentina) tel 06 686 5016
Who needs to cook when you can impress your guests with gourmet take-away dishes you can pop in the oven, like veal and spinach croquettes, stuffed zucchini and crepes? The window, full of mouth-watering options, will beckon you to come inside.
Via Maddalena 14
A sign made of carved wooden letters announces this narrow shop facing the Pantheon. It’s full of colored pastas, cheeses and cured meats. Stop in to pick up a cookie or pastry or ask them to make you a sandwich.
Piazza della Rotonda 5
Enoteca di Sardegna Pigna
In addition to the selection of good Sardinian wines and mirto (a berry liqueur), Stefano Anzalotta sells a variety of packaged Sardinian specialties, as well as fresh seadas (puff pastries filled with pecorino cheese topped with nuts and honey) casu breads, cheeses, hams and sausages. Ask him to make you a panino for a delicious quick lunch or snack.
Via della Pigna 3a tel. 06 6789374
Moriondo & Gariglio
This wonderful chocolate factory has been producing artisan confections for more than a hundred years, when the family came to Rome in the wake of their patrons, the royal house of Savoy. The chocolates are expensive, but worth it. They are, in fact, almost unbelievably good — 80 different kinds of bon bons, chocolate truffles, fruit gels, glazed chestnuts, all beautiful formed. The atmosphere in the shop is all old elegance. The staff behind the counter wears a sort of period costume complete with lace head coverings. On Valentine’s Day the shop still makes chocolates enclosed in a heart-shaped box replicating those made to celebrate the engagement of Maria José to King Umberto of Savoia. If you are a dark choclate lover, don’t miss their 70% pure chocolates in amusing shapes. And stop by at Easter to take a look at their amazing holiday gifts.
Via del Piè di Marmo, 21-22 tel. 06 69 90 856
La Bottega del Cioccolata
Master chocolate maker Maurizio Proietti learned his craft from his father, and he still uses the same carefully annotated recipes. In his shop you'll find all sorts of hand-made chocolates as well as a variety of other candies and hard-to-find candied violets. Everything is made on the premises. Closed for three months in the summer. Since nothing is refrigerated, it's a necessity.
Via Leonina, 82 tel. 06 4821473
A cozy pastry shop with mouth-watering Neapolitan desserts, beautiful made and inexepensively priced. You'll want to try everything. Ask for a free sample of their signature coconut or strawberry-flavored pastries.
via del Boschetto 108 tel 068 676 7585
Dolce e non Solo
Just next door to some of the best chocolate in Rome, the guilt-free version. This shop stocks sugar-free chocolate, marmalades and jellies as well as liqueurs.
Via Leonina, 78
In this small but excellent gourmet shop, Angelo Biasi stocks pastas, breads, cheeses, baked goods and wines, mostly from Tuscany and Sicily. Specialties in season, such as truffles and porcini mushrooms.
Via Leonina, 76 tel 06 478 23700
Il Giardino del Tè
A lovely shop selling more than 120 teas of all kinds — maté, a wide variety of green and black teas, tisanes and fruit teas —as well as all the accoutrements — tea pots, cups, strainers and the like.
Via del Boschetto, 112 A tel 06 4746888
Delizie di Calabria
Stocking Calabrese products from cured meats and cheeses to breads, pastas and wines.
Via dei Serpenti, 20/a
PRATI AND THE NORTHSIDE
These gourmet shops specialize in Italian food products and imports from around the world: Asia, Oceana, Africa, North and South America, Europe. Since 1932, Castroni has catered to the needs of Rome’s foreign communities. Here you can find whatever’s missing in your cupboard from taco chips to cranberry juice, peanut butter to canned pumpkin, saki to Chinese beer, mango juice to macademia nuts, rices, spices, condiments, dried fruits, teas. Try their own production of roasted coffee. Five locations throught the city, or order online at www.castroni.com.
Via Cola di Rienzo, 196 tel.06. 687 4383 (Prati)
Via Flaminia tel 06 361 1029 (Flaminia)
Piazza della Balduina tel. 06. 354 96806 (Balduina)
Via Ottaviano, 55 tel. 06 397 23 279 (Prati)
Via Nazionale 17 tel 06 48 98 7474 (near the Palazzo delle Esposizione)
Via Cassia 1821 tel 06 3089 5088
Via Catania 54 tel 06 442 44197
Piazza Irnerio 73/74 tel 06 66000187
A card in the window says it all: "A family tradition since 1928. Specialty. Rarity. Quality. Connosieurship." For the past forty years, Alessandro Massari and his counsin, Filippo Lanz, have continued that tradition, extending it to include both national and international products. The offerings include a variety of caviars from Iran, ham from Spain, which is cured from Iberian hogs left to pasture freely in the forest feeding on acorns; foie gras, so delicate it melts in your mouth; smoked fish from around the globe; goose and pork salamis; and cheeses galore. The shop sells more than 300 types of cheeses from Italy and France. There’s even a limited supply of white truffles when in season. The cantina stocks French, Italian and Spanish wines, champagnes, spumantis, dessert wines (sauternes, passiti, vendemmie tardive and Chateau d’Yqyem).
Via Montello, 22-26 tel. 06. 372 0243 (Prati) Open 7 am till 08:30 pm Closed Sunday
When we want to impress out of town guests, we bring them to Franchi so we can watch their jaws drop. It’s one of Rome’s finest gourmet stores selling an array of national and international food products — cheeses, salamis, truffles, caviar, and wines. They also do catering and gift packaging, and are particularly known for their elaborate holiday gift baskets.
The front counter is filled with a staggering selection of prepared foods. They can be eaten on the premises, but it’s a better idea to have them packed for take-away because the competition for space is so intense.
Via Cola di Rienza, 204 tel. 06. 687 4651 (Prati) Closed Sunday
Salumerie Ricci 1910
Street vendors selling fake Louis Vuitton bags and sunglasses and hoping to catch the attention of well-heeled clients, add to the bustling and colorful scene that unfolds at the threshold of this exclusive northside grocery. In the heart of Vigna Clara’s shopping district, its a gourmet deli selling salamis, cheeses, breads, fresh and dried pastas, pastry, olive oils, local and regional wines and gourmet foods. A tradition since 1910, Ricci is still a meeting place for area gourmets. The take out menu includes a variety of freshly-prepared foods, roasted chicken, sushi and sashimi. Home delivery service is available.
Largo Via Stelluti, 9 tel. 06 329 1857 (Vigna Clara)
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In Rome Now Travel Guide: Shopping in Rome, Italy